Norman Ackroyd | Lockdown: Etching in the time of Covid

2 September - 4 October 2020

Isolation can foster introspection; it can also breed innovation. Both have sustained Norman Ackroyd since the beginning of lockdown in March 2020, when he was in isolation not completely on his own, but in the company of his sketchbooks and (thankfully) his etching press. Norman’s solitude allowed him to mentally revisit his favourite locations around the British archipelago; he also used these introspections to innovate; creating works and re-working old memories to create new, fresh and beautiful etchings unlike any that we’ve seen from the artist before.


Usually each summer Norman embarks on an expedition by boat and land, visiting various locations around the British Isles to sketch with pencil and watercolours the awe-inspiring scenes of sunlight, spray, and stone. We might have worried that this year’s restrictions would mean that there would be no new work coming out of Norman’s studio in 2020. But, as an artist who has been working for decades, Norman fortunately has an impressive collection of sketchbooks containing drawing after drawing of his favourite places, and these sketchbooks have enabled him to create many new etchings for this September’s exhibition. Some of the watercolours from these trips are included in the exhibition, and we can imagine the pleasure that these sketches would have given Norman while confined to his home in London.